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When Sony announced that it was bringing Tim Schafer's classic adventure game Grim Fandango to PS4, people were understandably excited. It's one of the games people point to when talking about the genre. Because the 1998 game is hard to find and even harder to get running on modern computers, it seemed we'd never get a chance to explore the film noir-drenched underworld of Manny Calavera without succumbing to more… dubious methods. And while the remastered update is still a ways off, Tim Schafer plans to give his game the "Criterion" treatment.
If you're not familiar with the film company, the Criterion Collection is known for preserving films and presenting them in a way that the directors originally intended, while using modern technology to make a movie look as clean and crisp as possible. Since many of the artists and designers on Grim Fandango consider it a very film-like experience, they want to take a similar approach to the remastered version of their game. Similar to how you wouldn't want someone to add CGI enhancements to the film classic Casablanca, Double Fine doesn't want to go off the deep end over-embellishing the improvements to Grim Fandango. It wants to keep the original 4:3 aspect ratio and maintain the same graphical scale, while making the game look as great as possible.
That's not to say enhancements won't be made. Double Fine is experimenting with different control schemes, letting players tackle the game with point-and-click controls, improved joystick mapping, or the original "tank" controls from 1998. You should also expect high-res textures, rearranged symphonic adaptations of most of the songs from the iconic soundtrack, and many of the special features you'd come to expect from a "Criterion-like" release. Meaning: you can probably expect a making-of documentary, a bundle of concept art, and--possibly--a commentary mode. After all, Schafer did mention the dev team "loves to talk."
A version of Grim Fandango is currently running on PS4 hardware, but as the team is still scouring archives and trying to get the best quality source material for this remaster, a final version is still a long way from release. That said, just knowing that we'll get another chance to explore the Land of the Dead on modern hardware is a good enough reason to be excited.
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